You plan to use your pension to retire. You’ve been planning on it for decades; it is one of the main reasons that you took this job in the first place. It’s a very good pension that should allow you to maintain an enviable lifestyle even after you quit working, no matter what happens with the rest of your savings and investments.
Then, shortly before retirement, you get fired. Do you still have a right to your pension?
The first thing to consider is why you got fired. If the reason was illegal — race, gender, age, etc — you may have a wrongful termination case. You could then seek financial compensation for what you lost.
The next thing to look at is the rules that govern your specific pension plan. If you are vested, then you still get the payouts. Typically, vesting is tied to the number of years you worked at the company, though it is very important to check the specific rules of your plan. They cannot deny you your pension after you are vested.
In some cases, employees can become partially vested. While you may not get the whole pension — perhaps you did not work at the company long enough for it to become fully vested — you should still get the portion that has already vested. Again, it depends on the specific rules of your pension.
Do you think that your employer has violated your rights, perhaps by illegally firing you or by denying a pension that you deserve? Make sure you know what legal options you have.